Christopher John Ong, BSc PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery- General Surgery
Associate Appointment, Department of Urologic Sciences
Address: Jack Bell Research Centre
2660 Oak Street Vancouver, BC V6H 3Z6
Hospital Authority: Vancouver Coastal Health
- Immunology research, functional genomic
The primary focus of Dr. Ong’s research program is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern the progression of prostate cancer from a state of androgen sensitivity to hormone independence with the hope of developing novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or delay the progression of prostate cancer to androgen independence. His primary focus has been on the PTEN tumour suppressor gene, which is among the most frequently mutated genes in cancer. One or both copies of PTEN is mutated in over 70% of primary prostate cancer and PTEN is completely inactivated in over 50% of advanced prostate cancer which correlates with a poor prognosis. Dr. Ong’s laboratory is currently studying how mutations of that gene confer protection of prostate cancer cells from cell death and resistance to chemotherapy as well as how loss of PTEN influences progression of prostate cancer cells to androgen independence. Implications from this research may lead to new therapeutic strategies designed to prevent or delay progression to androgen independence. Based on observations to date, Dr. Ong is testing the potential utility of several classes of small molecule drugs that act to down-modulate the PI3K survival pathway in the treatment of prostate cancer. These novel compounds have tremendous promise as lead compounds for development of therapeutics that target a primary defect associated with prostate cancer and other malignancies. Dr. Ong’s laboratory is also involved in the development of unique prostate tumour model systems which are used to characterize the function of a number of genes in normal and malignant prostate biology.